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Originally published on Tikkun Daily |

According to a report from Haaretz, the Obama administration is engaged in behind-the-scenes efforts to delay voting on recognition of Palestine as an independent state in both the General Assembly and the Security Council.

A "silent agreement" is reportedly in place between several Western countries to postpone the U.N. votes through a number of bureaucratic stalling tactics, the use of which are being promoted by Washington.

Blue Chair
On Tuesday, September 20, the Palestinian Authority unveiled a large, blue chair in Ramallah representing Palestine's seat at the U.N. Photo by Joseph Dana.

On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to present an official request to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon which will specify the Palestinians' desire to seek full U.N. membership through the Security Council. While a vote on the request could take place by early October, sources indicate that the potential exists for such a vote to be postponed by months.

According to Shlomo Shamir, there are several options available to the Obama administration for postponement of voting in the Security Council, including the use of closed-door consultations:

If the Palestinian request does go ahead on Friday, the United States  can refer the request to a debate inside the framework of informal  consultations that Security Council members hold behind closed doors - a  procedure that could last weeks or months...a month ago, France distributed a draft resolution that  included sanctions against Syria. The draft has not yet reached a  discussion because Russia, with the support of China, has been delaying  discussions of the draft at the Security Council.

There are suggestions that Abbas might actually be interested in such a delay, for it would give him more time to make diplomatic progress. However, activity in the West Bank seems to run counter to such claims, for the PA is planning a massive rally on Wednesday in Ramallah in support of the U.N. statehood initiative. The Palestinians are hoping for tens of thousands to march in the streets, and anticipation for the vote is growing. According to Joseph Dana:

Schools will close early so that students can take part in large  rallies in support of statehood. Roughly 80,000 government employees  will be given time off as [Abbas] taps all of the resources that  his governing Fatah party have in the West Bank to ensure mass turn out.

Additionally, the Palestinians are busy whipping votes on the Security Council to try and secure a majority, which would force the U.S. to use its veto - something the Obama administration is desperately working to avoid given the irrevocable damage such a vote would do to America's already-shaky standing in the Middle East. Indications are that the African nation of Gabon, which is still undecided on the matter, may end up determining whether the Palestinians achieve a majority in the Security Council.

If the votes fall the Palestinians' way, look for the Obama administration to begin utilizing procedural stalling tactics as a way to buy more time as Washington frantically works to derail the Palestinians' U.N. bid.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Palestinians may not have a *majority* on the (6+ / 0-)

    Security Council?  What's the story behind that?  Are we twisting people's arms?

    In my avatar, the blue bars show how many want Reps who COMPROMISE; the aqua bars show who wants Reps who STAND FAST no matter what. (Left=Overall; Center=Democrats; Right=Republicans.) And there's the problem!

    by Seneca Doane on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:43:01 PM PDT

    •  There is a lot of work being done behind the (6+ / 0-)

      scenes by both the U.S. and Israel right now to whip votes, and some of those efforts have been successful.

      While nobody is revealing all of their hands yet, today it was announced that Israel convinced Nigeria to vote against the PA bid, and it now seems that Gabon may be the one country which either gives the Palestinians' their majority or saves the U.S. from having to use its veto.

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:47:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So that argues in favor of a delay (5+ / 0-)

        if Abbas isn't sure he gets the votes.

        This move will play really well in Nigeria, I'm sure.  No religious strife there!

        In my avatar, the blue bars show how many want Reps who COMPROMISE; the aqua bars show who wants Reps who STAND FAST no matter what. (Left=Overall; Center=Democrats; Right=Republicans.) And there's the problem!

        by Seneca Doane on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:51:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's an interesting situation. If the U.S. gets (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Seneca Doane, capelza

          the votes, there will likely be a push to run this through quickly, so in that sense it wouldn't play out well for Abbas.

          That said, even if Abbas ends up getting the votes (as Washington fears he might), a delay could be used to his advantage to put pressure on Israel in possible negotiations.

          A lot of behind-the-scenes wrangling going on right now.

          As for Nigeria, it has strong ties to Israel, in part due to its desire to deal with terrorism (from what I understand).

          I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

          by David Harris Gershon on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:59:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This from the Jerusalem Post: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Seneca Doane, capelza
          Ehud Barak has convinced Nigeria to not support the Palestinian statehood bid, a statement from the Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday.

          As part of the lobbying efforts, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met in New York Tuesday with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. The meeting between the two was set up about a week ago, and – according to the statement put out by Barak's office – was coordinated both with Netanyahu and the US.

          In addition to discussing the Palestinian issue, the statement said the two also discussed the "challenges of international terrorism and ways the two countries can cooperate in this area." Nigeria, one of Israel's closest friends in Africa, has been plagued over the last number of years by radical Islamic terrorism.

          I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

          by David Harris Gershon on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:01:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I see suitcases full of money delivered (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        by guys in black.

  •  I made a post on the same subject earlier (4+ / 0-)

    Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:14:30 PM PDT

  •  Procedural delay is a smart move... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom, leftynyc

    and wholly within the rules of the UN, especially as rushing this through with provocative action in the UNSC will help no one.

    Abbas now seems to better understand, but may be unable to change course enough to allow the matter to cool and increase the chance for a more positive outcome.

    Even as he admitted, it depends on negotiations.  Let him come to the table and challenge Netanyahu to stop the building, rather than use it as a pretense not to talk.  Otherwise, is he really much different when it comes to being a peacemaker?

    And this does not even consider Hamas.

    A writer cannot prevent and is not responsible for the deliberate desire of some to distort his words. -- Eric Sevareid

    by citizen53 on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 01:01:11 AM PDT

    •  Rushing it through? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WattleBreakfast, ohmyheck

      How long have they waited?

      Oooh.  Challenging Netanyahu to stop the settlement expansion.  I'm sure Bibi will throw up his hands and give up at that challenge.

      “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry. It takes a helleuva lot more.

      by Paleo on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 05:19:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Long enough to have screwed up... (0+ / 0-)

        many times.  And maybe this will be more of the same.  Netanyahu may well not stop, but this is more about what Abbas should do.  If you do not understand the point, then what more can I say.

        A writer cannot prevent and is not responsible for the deliberate desire of some to distort his words. -- Eric Sevareid

        by citizen53 on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 01:03:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Troubadour, I always appreciate your diaries even (0+ / 0-)

    if I don't always agree with your premise and conclusions.  You diaries are actually one of my major sources for keeping up with Israeli-Palestine issues.

    I have a few questions.  I repeatedly hear the phrase: That a veto by the Obama administration would cause "irrevocable damage . . .to America's already-shaky standing in the Middle East."  Query, what precisely is the damage that it would cause, and why would such damage be "irrevocable?"  Also, what reliable metric is used to determine that "America[ has] shaky standing in the Middle East?"  A polls a reliable indicator of such alleged "shaky-standing?"

    Thanks in advance for answers and keep up your good work .


    The Republican Party = The American Taliban.

    by pwr2thepeople on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 05:29:13 AM PDT

  •  The framework that is emerging (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is that Abbas submits his letter to UNSC, with the uderstanding that action will be suspended pending outcome of time limited negotiations.  Maybe 12 months?

    Abbas will request some immediate concessions, a settlement freeze, at a minimum, a reversion of collecting tax and customs revenue to the Palestinians, and perhaps some evacuation of the outlying settlements and illegal outposts.

    The trouble is, that because of domestic politics, the Israeli PM can't make any concessions without risk of losing his coalition.  

    President Obama could sell this, but it requires some "hard to do"  concessions from Israel.  

    He could, and will make a strong statement that both parties deserve defined boundaries and sovereignity, and that the US is committed to defending Israel's sovereignity, behind agreed upo borders.  

  •  Is the U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood or (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, petral

    is it on the State of Palestine's becoming a member State of the U.N.?

    More than 100 countries already recognize the State of Palestine.

    I have heard conflicting reports about the State of Palestine possibly requesting non-member State status if it is denied member State status. Does anyone have any information about this?

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 07:13:33 AM PDT

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